If anyone denies the “baseball is juiced” conundrum one just has to look at the career of Eric Sogard who had 11 career home runs in over 1,500 AB’s entering this season and 9 this year alone. More home-runs were hit in June than any other month in baseball history, including the steroid era. If MLB wanted to put this “shameful era” on the back-burner it sure isn’t displaying remorse as I’ve read numerous accounts of the baseball and its inner core being compromised after scientists with way too much time on their hands x-rayed and analyzed two different sets of baseballs, one of modern day and one before 2015. It seems like 40 home runs, once a milestone, will be humdrum, and which begs the question–who will be the next Brady Anderson? Shall we also judge and slander modern day players for HOF consideration because they played during the “juiced ball era?”
The baseball season can be summed up by the opposite theater masks of tragedy and comedy and the Yankees/Red Sox London Series was quite the definition of both. I watched the first game out of curiosity and was instantly turned off by both teams scoring 6 runs in the first inning. What some people see as an exciting, high-scoring game I just saw as bad pitching and a clown show. The first half of the first inning took 27 minutes alone. I’m not sure what kind of individual wants to watch a game with numerous pitchers entering to throw gas and dynamite on an open flame over a 4 hour period but I certainly don’t. I watched about 2 innings before the novelty wore off and I immediately changed the channel in order to watch old Twilight Zone episodes which were infinitely more interesting. I suppose the Yankees and their fans will be on the tongue of baseball fans everywhere until their eventual elimination by the Astros, the Twins or some random Wild Card team. The last sentence garnering a resounding “touche” or “you suck” with little discernible sway.
Even a “genius” can make mistakes. Nikola Tesla made bizarre contraptions such as an earthquake machine and a death ray. Thomas Edison wanted to make entire houses out of concrete. Einstein said that the universe was eternal (apparently he thought the Big Bang Theory was hooey.)….and Billy Beane traded Andre Ethier for Milton Bradley.
At the time the trade seemed to make sense. The Athletics needed a big bat and they acquired one in Bradley. All they had to give up was their minor league player of the year and Texas League MVP in Andre Ethier. The trade worked fine for a while as Bradley helped the A’s get to the 2006 ALCS where they were eventually swept by the hated Detroit Tigers. Bradley, however must have forgotten to take his meds the next season as he became the violent schizophrenic that he had been in Los Angeles and was traded to the Padres after only 19 games (with cash…now THAT is desperation) for forgotten relief pitcher Andrew Brown.
Ethier, on the other hand became the poster boy of Los Angeles. He is one of the most beloved Dodgers to ever put on the uniform and will forever be seen as a heart-throb (right up there with Menudo!) to the female contingent of 20 and 30 somethings in the City of Angels. He is a two-time All Star, won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award. Ethier also gave the Dodgers 145 career HR’s and 628 RBI’s, compared to Bradley’s 16 and 59 for the Athletics. Ethier is class–personified while Bradley is quite the opposite. The psycho burned every bridge in every city he played in until everyone finally gave up and he wasn’t re-signed after the 2011 season (he even took to wearing earplugs to drown out the heckling fans)….and it didn’t end there. Bradley was facing 13 years in prison for spousal abuse and even threatened to kill his wife on more than one occasion. Strangely enough, she died on September 14, 2013 of unknown causes. (this was swept under the rug…perhaps I might get a notice from a lawyer or 2 after this is posted.)
This was a trade of disastrous proportions and will probably go down in history as one of Mr. Beane’s worse, and to save subjective judgment is diametrically opposed to what “Moneyball” was supposed to be about in the first place. This is but the first installment of “The Billy Beane failure chronicles.”